Fontana, CA – A Fontana police officer showed immense restraint as he successfully talked an allegedly armed suspect out of committing suicide by cop (video below).
The incident occurred in the area of Santa Ana Avenue and Commerce Way at approximately 9 a.m. on Nov. 27, Fontana Police Chief Billy Green said in the video, which was released on Dec. 9.
A resident called 911 after he spotted a “disgruntled” man pacing the street as he was heading to work, the Daily Bulletin reported.
“When he saw my car, he pulled the gun out,” the caller explained.
The resident sped away and pulled into his workplace, but could still see the alleged gunman pacing the street, the Herald News reported.
“I'm looking at him right now,” he told the dispatcher. “He's still walking up and down the street. I don't think he sees me."
Fontana Police Officer Joshua MacMillian responded the to area to find the suspect walking down the street with his left hand shoved in his pocket, bodycam footage showed.
Officer MacMillian jumped out of his patrol car with his duty weapon drawn.
“Show me your hands!” he said calmly, with his duty weapon aimed at the alleged gunman. “Do not pull anything out.”
The suspect stopped walking towards the officer, but refused to remove his hands.
Officer MacMillian moved away from the partial cover of his patrol car and repeatedly asked the suspect to raise his hands, the video showed.
“Do not face away from me,” he said with slightly more urgency. “Pull your left hand out…Do not pull a gun out! I’m telling you right now – I will shoot you.”
Officer MacMillian gradually shortened the distance between himself and the allegedly armed man as he continued to issue commands.
“Shoot me!” the suspect finally responded, just before he broke down into tears. “Please shoot me…please, please, please!”
“I do not want to shoot you!” the officer told him. “Come on! Stop this! Don’t f--king do this…we’ll get through whatever you’re going through.”
Officer MacMillian told the suspect that he realized he was “going through some s--t,” and begged him to tell him his name and to let him help, the video showed.
The sobbing suspect ultimately dropped to his knees in the roadway, but still refused to remove his left hand from his pocket.
“I can see you’re holding a gun,” Officer MacMillian told the suspect, who was just feet away from him at that point. “I can see the outline through your sweater…Let go of the gun and pull your left hand out!”
The suspect finally complied, and the officer calmly provided additional commands in an effort to safely take the sobbing suspect into custody, the video showed.
“Just kill me!” the suspect begged again.
“No. I don’t want to kill you,” Officer MacMillian replied. “You’re not dying today.”
Additional units arrived at the scene seconds later and the suspect was placed in handcuffs.
Officer MacMillian then discovered that the item inside the man’s pocket was actually a cell phone.
The suspect told police that he had called 911 on himself.
“I don’t have a gun,” the suspect told the officers. “I’m the one who called.”
According to Chief Green, the man was telling the truth about making the 911 call.
“He placed the call to facilitate our response in an attempt to commit suicide by cop,” the chief explained in the video release. “Had the man not responded to the tireless deescalation tactics employed by Officer MacMillan, the outcome could have been tragic for the individual in crisis and our officers.”
Chief Green noted that these types of calls have become far too commonplace.
“Our police officers are regularly thrust into volatile situations,” he said. “The vast majority of calls for service nationwide are handled by caring and compassionate police officers and result in minimal uses of force.”
“The unfortunate reality is, this is not the narrative that is perpetuated by many in the media and anti-police advocates,” Chief Green continued. “It is my hope that by watching this video for yourself, you will share in some of the pride that I have in our law enforcement officers.”
Police said that the suspect was transported to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation, and that he was not criminal charged as a result of the incident, the Daily Mail reported.
Approximately 100 Facebook users provided overwhelmingly positive feedback on the Fontana Police Department’s (FPD) Facebook page after the bodycam footage was released.
Citizens praised the officer for being “respectful” and “compassionate” by not firing his weapon at the noncompliant, allegedly armed suspect as he spoke with him outside a position of cover.
You can watch bodycam footage of the officer’s encounter with the suicidal suspect in the video below: